Dear little brother
Dear little brother,
You graduated from college today. It's a day I didn't think would come so soon.
To you, it probably felt like it took forever, but it seems like I barely had time to blink before all those years had passed and you officially became a grown up.
As you move onto this next phase in your life, here are some things your big sister wants you to take with you:
Do the good and do it proudly
On March 23, 2003, you graduated from kindergarten.
You were such a tiny thing back then but always running around trying to play with us big kids.
It didn't matter that you had asthma, it didn't matter that you were a bit clumsy–you would always find a way to make us include you in our games. You were headstrong when it came to what you wanted.
You always tried to do the right thing. This sometimes put you in harm's way and made us worry to no end but your heart was always in the right place.
Growing up the youngest also exposed you to a lot of teasing from 4 older siblings but that never stopped you from being you. Even when you were embarrassed, you would hug one of us in shame and then laugh it off.
There will be times when life will force you to question your morals and goals, stay true to who you know you are and keep doing what you believe is good.
God is always with you
On March 28, 2009, you graduated from grade school.
You knew early on that you wanted to be a priest when you grew up. You would always accompany Nanay to church and walk beside the karosa during processions.
There were many times when you would get us to join in your play reenactment of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We teased you about it but you refused to be embarrassed. You knew there was nothing to be embarrassed about.
Seeing how serious you were about prayer even at such a young age put me in awe and you were always one of the examples I looked to when contemplating my own relationship with God.
There will be times when you will lose sight of God and feel more alone than ever, always remember that God is with you in so many different ways, acting through so many different people.
Always believe in yourself
On March 23, 2013, you graduated from high school.
High school was when you truly had to find yourself, learn just who you were and who you wanted to be. But you found that being true to yourself came with a price.
For a time, you became distant and timid, unlike the younger brother I knew. We worried that you had lost your way.
However, after you opened up about what you were going through, we saw a big change. You learned how to fight those that sought to put you down. You learned how to ignore those that ridiculed you. You learned to accept who you were.
Despite the physical distance between us, this was the time when I learned the most about my younger brother and I began to see what a wonderful man he would soon become.
There will be times in life when people will try to tell you to be who you are not and to do things you don't want to do, but know that you are already wonderful person and any changes you make and every thing you do should be your own choice and because you want to.
You are what the world needs
On April 10, 2017, you graduated from college.
The past 4 years weren't easy for you, I know this now. The times we talked on the phone, you always sounded happy, you never let on that you were having a hard time... and I never even thought to ask.
This is when you amazed me the most, though. You held yourself together and, despite the emotional and mental toll the stress had taken, you rallied gracefully until the end.
Many times you felt like giving up, you felt that you weren't good enough to achieve your goals, and just as many times you found the strength to pull through.
Your clumsy struggle may seem trivial and disappointing to you, but you've shown that you have what it takes to take life's challenges head on. Not only did you silence the detractors but you also prevailed over your own inner demons, and that is a fight many do not survive.
Now you've decided to take on an even bigger challenge, one that will lead you into a future of even more hardship. This path you've chosen will take you straight into the mouth of a very hungry beast that needs your help.
To all graduates: know that you can help. Even if life leads you down a million different roads after today, you already are capable of affecting change and making the world better.
As long as you stay true to your morals, your conscience, your heart, and your self, you will be able to chase and catch your dreams and the world will be much better for it.
Oh, and one last thing you probably didn't know: not only have you always made me proud to call myself your sister, but you are a person I look up to. I am beyond excited to see how you will shape the world and I know you're going to be wonderful.